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Airspace violations by Chinese choppers

Two Chinese helicopters have reportedly violated the Indian airspace in recent months in Leh area of north Jammu and Kashmir during which they air-dropped some canned food in barren land at Chumar, northeast of this Himalayan town, along the border.

The MI series helicopters were reported to the nearby defence post by residents of this high altitude area living along the Pangong lake, located in the lap of majestic hills, prompting the Army Aviation Corps to rush its Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.

However, they could only find tell-tale signs left by Chinese helicopters which hovered in the Indian territory for nearly five minutes dropping the food material on June 21 this year, sources said.

When contacted, Army spokesperson for Udhampur-based Northern Command said that “there was a report of a helicopter flying in the area south of Chumar, where India and China have differences in perception on the Line of Actual Control. It was reported by grazers.”

A confidential defence document shows that Chinese helicopters entered into Indian air space along Damchok area and Trig Heights in Ladakh and air dropped canned food containing frozen pork and brinjal, which had passed the expiry date.

Chinese People’s Liberation Army has been crossing over into the Indian side in this region quite frequently with August reporting the maximum number of incursions.

Trig Heights also known as Trade junction, which connected Ladakh with Tibet in earlier days, is an area where Chinese patrol have frequented this year in June, July and August.

Chinese Army patrols have made 26 sorties in June, including two incursions by helicopters, and 21 in July.

In August this year, Chinese patrols have entered into the Indian Territory 26 times and walked away with Petrol and kerosene meant for jawans of the border guarding forces. The Chinese army had made 223 attempts last year and left tell-tale signs.

The Army spokesperson, however, tried to downplay these incursions attempts saying “there are a few areas along the border where India and China have different perceptions of the LAC. Both sides patrol up to their respective perceptions of LAC.”

“Due to perceived differences in the alignment of LAC, the Chinese patrol does transgress beyond our perception of the LAC in a few areas. The pattern of transgressions has remained similar over a long period of time,” the spokesperson said.

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